• Our MP should be able to explain how and why he voted, in Syria debate

    3rd December 2015 | News | Claire
  • Many MPs engaged with their constituents via social media in public to give their views and answer questions.

    Labour MP, Stella Creasy , who has been unacceptably abused via Twitter for her decision to vote in favour of airstrikes, will hold a public meeting on Sunday to talk through the issues with her electorate.

    Conservative MP, Sarah Wollaston, who also voted in favour of bombing Syria, was tweeting throughout the debate and answering queries from constituents.

    Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, at least put up an explanation of the reason he voted in favour of airstrikes.

    So what did East Devon’s MP, Hugo Swire, do to engage with his constituents about the inevitable contacts concerning the Syria vote.

    The answer – at least publicly – was nothing.  Mr Swire’s website is silent on the matter and so is his Twitter feed.  This is quite extraordinary, given the enormity and implications of the debate and vote yesterday.  Publicly, he said absolutely nothing about the debate itself, the case for war or how and why he was going to vote – or did vote – the way he did:

    – Nothing to the people making a case for him to vote against the party line
    – Nothing to questions about the risk to civilian casualties
    – Nothing about the fact that ISIS has doubled its recruits since the Syrian military campaign began
    – Nothing to those who dislike the fact that we sell around £1bn of arms to one of the worst human rights abusers on the planet – which could end up anywhere….
    – Nothing to those who clearly remember the messy bloody fallout of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya
    – Nothing in response to the so-called ground force army of 70,000 moderates, which many believe is fantasy
    – Nothing to those who are worried that there is a lack of long-term military strategy
    – Nothing to those who have read the reports that many IS chiefs are hiding in Turkey
    – Nothing to people who are concerned that the refugee crisis will be made even worse

    As Green MP, Caroline Lucas, pointed out in yesterday’s debate, those who are opposed to bombing are as committed to wiping out the loathsome ISIS as anyone else. 

    But they want to go about it in a way that doesn’t allow the terrorists to use military action to their own advantage.  A way that doesn’t kill innocent civilians and get us embroiled in another lengthy war that costs lives of our armed forces – and money we are always told we haven’t got. 

    And in a way that is subtler and cleverer than dropping bombs.

    The West’s bombing campaigns are the terrorists’ most successful recruitment tool.

    My own views on military action in Syria will be obvious from this article and I oppose bombing for the reasons above.

    Whichever way our MP voted (and we know he voted in favour of airstrikes) I really think that in this day and age there is no excuse for remaining publicly silent on such a monumental vote and debate taking place in parliament.  East Devon residents deserve more respect.